Exports to the United States, the largest importer during January, dropped sharply by 37 per cent to around USD90 million, compared with the same period last year.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that the country's seafood exports during the first two months of the year touched USUSD907 million, down 9.4 per cent over the same period last year.
Vietnamese seafood exporters are expected to encounter difficulties due to bad weather in the United States and the recent depreciation of the euro against the US dollar.
Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), told online newspaper ndh.vn that the slump was due to seafood demand in the United Stated having been adjusted in view of increased buying at the end of last year.
Hoe said nearly 90 per cent of Vietnamese seafood export transactions were calculated in US dollar. This was the reason that any change in foreign exchange would also impact exporters.
Workers process frozen shrimp for export at the Ca Mau-based Minh Phu Seafood Corporation.
VNA/VNS Huynh The Anh
In addition, seafood inventory in the United States last year was deemed relatively high, resulting in imports being halved after reviewing consumption trends this year.
Another reason was the record cold weather, preventing Americans from stepping out and shopping.
The latest report from the US Department of Commerce released on March 12 showed that its retail revenue in February also slipped 0.6 per cent, marking the third consecutive month seeing a slump.
Domestic seafood exports to the European Union and Japan, the biggest import market following the United States, were also reduced because of the depreciation of the euro against the US dollar.
The currency has fallen by more than 12 per cent against the US dollar over the last two months to its lowest level in 12 years. This has forced importers to spend more euros to buy US dollar and resulted in Vietnamese exports becoming more expensive, despite selling prices remaining unchanged in dollar terms.
The depreciation in the yen was also creating difficulties for Viet Nam's seafood exports.
Exports to the market during January were 10 per cent lower at $75 million, than a year ago.
VASEP's Hoe said it was hard to forecast the prospects of seafood exports. Even though the United States sharply cut anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Vietnamese shrimp from 6.37 per cent to 0.93 per cent, this would not boost purchases immediately as the new tariffs would only take effect in July.
However, the decision had raised the expectations of exporters for future business. Earlier, VASEP had set a seafood export target of $8 billion for 2015./.